Tag Archives: Chris Pratt

Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2

GotG_Vol2_poster

Its predecessor was an action packed, laugh a minute, wonderful surprise that threw Marvel universe into space. Of course a sequel was inevitable and hopes are high with director James Gunn returning to oversee the madness. But can lightening strike twice?

Set two months after the events of the last movie, we catch up with the Guardians who have managed to upset the Sovereign race due to Rocket’s thieving impulses. Their escape eventually leads them to an unexpected reunion between Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) and his father, a living planet called Ego (Kurt Russell). However it’s not long before the Guardians find themselves in trouble again and have to fight to keep the gang together.

It was always going to be an uphill battle to match the same rebellious, unexpected spirit that Guardians of the Galaxy gave us. While Volume 2 doesn’t quite hit those highs dues to the lack of element of surprised it’s still a rollercoaster of fun and laughter. Humour was a strong part of the first movie’s success and Volume 2 delivers on many funny one liners and great sight gags.

The Guardians themselves are still a loveable ragtag group of misfits with Baby Groot (Vin Diesel) often being a scene stealer. We also gets more development on the sisterly rivalry between Gimora (Zoe Saldana) and Nebula (Karen Gillan) which more often than not spills into violence. New characters Mantis (Pom Klementieff) is also introduced and fits in seamlessly with the other Guardians and has a funny odd couple friendship with the blunt and tactless Drax (Dave Bautisa).

The film’s excitable energy does starts to waver towards its last act and while Michael Rooker is great as returning character Yondu (“I’m Mary Poppins”– it makes sense in context), I didn’t quite buy his redemptive arch or the film trying to make out he was a good guy all along. Didn’t he still beat Peter as a kid? However these quibbles aside Volume 2 shows that there’s still life in these loveable rogues yet and there encounter with the more professional Avengers in next years Infinity Wars movie should make for an entertaining encounter.

(As an aside note this film rivals the last Fast and Furious Movie with the amount of time the word ‘family’ is mentioned. Does Vin Diesel have some kind of contract where the word must always be referenced?)

Rating 4/5 – a less surprising but still a riveting ride with Marvel’s funniest heroes

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Jurassic World

Humans, we never learn do we? Thankfully not, otherwise nothing would happen in this third sequel to the dinosaur blockbuster Jurassic Park. But will the cinema audience experience dino fatigue?

Set 22 years after the events of Jurassic Park, we see that a new dinosaur theme park, Jurassic World has been up and running for ten years. But audiences are bored of the regular cloned dinosaurs (really after only ten years?) so as to entice new visitors – and make more money – the Park owners decide to create a new dinosaur The Indominus Rex. Unfortunately the Indominus Rex doesn’t like being locked up and soon escapes leaving Velociraptor trainer Owen (Chris Pratt) and park manager Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard) to stop the Rex eating the tourists – including Claire’s nephews Zach (Nick Robinson) and Grey (Ty Simpkins).

Jurassic Park is one of the first films I remember seeing at the cinema and I still enjoy seeing it repeated on tv to this day. Jurassic World may not be as good as Jurassic Park but it is a fun movie and better than the previous two sequels.

Having Chris Pratt as the lead male was a good call, as he is witty and likeable as Owen, the sole voice of reason in the movie, daring to suggest to the other characters that maybe making your own vicious dinosaur isn’t such a good idea. While Howard doesn’t have as good a character playing Claire, the ice queen/career woman who neglects her visiting nephews, she does get better as the film goes on. She isn’t as good as Laura Dern’s Ellie Sattler from the original movie, but she’s infinitely less annoying than The Lost World‘s Julianne Moore’s Sarah Harding. The rest of the cast play their parts suitably well – pesky kids, boo-hiss villains, walking dinosaur fodder etc.

The main stars of course are the dinosaurs, still looking good, and appropriately scary. The film is still able to keep the tension even though we know the dinosaurs are going to get loose and go crazy. Those parts are inevitably the best parts of the film as we see the dinosaurs attack. I was worried the Velociraptors were going to be lame having seen trailers with Owen seemingly taming the rapters. Luckily this is not the case. While Owen can control them to an extent the rapters are still vicious killers given the chance. Clever Girls.

Jurassic World also successfully manages to keep the movie fun and have some amusing moments, including an awkward big kiss moment between two supporting characters. A lot of the good one liners go to Owen although control room employee Lowery (New Girls’ Jake Johnson) also provides some laughs.

Still disapointed there was no Jeff Goldblum cameo though. Maybe for the next sequel?

Rating 3.5/5 – 22 years on and dinosaurs still rule the cinema

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Delivery Man (2013)

Vince Vaughn hasn’t had a huge smash hit for a while. Can a remake of a Canadian comedy Starbucks, which in turn was inspired by a true story provide him with a huge hit?

David’s (Vince Vaughn) life is a mess. He’s an unreliable delivery man for his father’s butcher shop, his girlfriend reveals she’s pregnant and she doesn’t know if he will be there for her and he’s in debt to some men who want to break his legs if he doesn’t pay the money back. He then find outs from a sperm bank he donated to in his youth that he is the father of 533 children and that 142 of them are filing a lawsuit to find out the identity of their father. Although he wants to remain anonymous he can’t help but be interested about the children he fathered and slowly begins to seek them out without revealing his identity to them.

Delivery Man is by no means a perfect comedy. The failings of which I will go into later. But there are some moments in Delivery Man which are surprisingly sweet and yes, even funny.

The funniest bits in Delivery Man is Chris Pratt as David’s lawyer Brett. Uncensored in his opinions of fatherhood and David’s ability to be a father he has most of best lines and has a great comedic touch. This really is no surprise now considering he’s been a big part of the success of The Lego Movie and Guardians of the Galaxy, both of which has Pratt using his humour in a leading role. In the supporting role he manages to stand out against leading man Vaughn. The young actors playing some of David’s children are also good, you empathise with their journey to know their father and see David be a better man through his interaction with them (although they don’t know who he is).

Delivery Man is easy watching and will provide some laughs but it doesn’t seem to know what kind of film it wants to be. Is it a laugh out loud comedy about a man with 533 children, or drama about a man who has fathered 533 children? It tries to be both but it feels like it tries to hard to balance the two parts. One of his children (Britt Robertson) has an overdose which seems like it will be a major plot later on but then is dropped without much follow-up or consequences of David’s actions. Although Vaughn is capable enough in the role it’s not really stretching him. The film follows the adult-child-learning-to-be-a-man-and-a-father clichĂ© and doesn’t really offer anything new. Still at least Vaughn gets to show more sides of his character than poor Cobie Smulders as David’s put upon girlfriend Emma. She seems to be there just to look disappointed in David, annoyed at David and slightly less annoyed at David. Smulders looks like she’s counting down the days til she can back to the next Avengers movie. The ending also has everything wrapped up way too quickly whereas you would expect more of a backlash against David, and his money problems are so easily resolved you wonder why he didn’t do that in the first place.

Rating  3/5 – by no means perfect, but amusing enough and has a great supporting role from Chris Pratt

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Guardians of the Galaxy

So we’ve had Iron Man, Thor and co in their solo films and together in the mighty Avengers movie, now Marvel brings out the newcomers. But as one of their lesser-known properties can Marvel work their magic on this band of heroes.

Abducted from Earth as boy Peter Quill (Chris Pratt), otherwise known as Star-Lord was brought up among thieves. As an adult he finds himself in trouble when he steals a sphere shaped artifact with unknown powers, which everyone seems to want. He soon crosses the path of an array of aliens including Gamora (Zoe Saldana) a remorseful assassin, Drax the Destroyer (Dave Bautista) whose looking for revenge, Groot (Vin Diesel) a tree-like humanoid who can only say “I am Groot”, and Rocket (Bradley Cooper) a genetically engineered talking raccoon. These strangers soon have to work together when an enemy bigger then themselves start looking for the artifact, hoping to use it to cause as much death and destruction as possible.

The basic plot may not be original-a ragtag bunch of misfits must overcome their differences to work together against a common enemy. It could basically be the Avengers-in space! But what marks out Guardians of the Galaxy is the sense of pure fun and weirdness that ensures that this superhero movie is anything but a bog standard adventure.

James Gunn was considered quite the risk as a director having directed mostly indie films such as the body-alien horror Slither. But just like Joss Whedon before him Marvel have proven that the risk has payed off. Gunn clearly enjoys the sense of anarchy and wackiness that is embodied in this film. When your main characters include a talking raccoon you must have a director that has the balls to run with the weirdness and make it into something that is funny, exciting and at times quite touching without diluting all the oddness that comes with it.

It helps that our guardians are all equally as engaging as each other. There is no weak link here and everyone has a chance to shine. Chris Pratt has had quite the year being the lead in the mega hit The Lego Movie (another film that was a lot better than everyone expected it to be), and as Peter he’s the everyman that the audience can identify with. He’s not a squeaky clean goodie-goodie and is all the better for it. Peter is funny, likeable and probably gone a bit mad having listen to the same music (Awesome Mixtape 1) for the past 26 years. Saldana gets a lot of excellent fight scenes as the remorseful Gamora and has good chemistry with Pratt. Burista is surprisingly funny and has a sad back story that drives his anger. Vin Diesel as Groot is sweet and conveys a lot for someone whose character has a limited vocabulary. Rocket will probably be a lot of people’s favourite character and Cooper manages to make this talking raccoon as twisted and hilarious as you imagine he would be but also more than just a one joke character that could have been very annoying.

As for the villains we get Lee Pace as the main baddie, the psychotic Ronan The Accuser, and former Doctor Who assistant Karen Gillian as Nebula his right hand woman. Between them they don’t make things easy for the Guardians and get lots of good fight scenes and plenty of boo-hiss moments to get you rooting for their comeuppance. Also one of my favourite bits of the movie is Ronan’s reaction to Peter’s interesting attempts at distraction. How Pace did not crack up during filming I don’t know.

It’s a movie which on paper probably looks mad, and it is but that doesn’t make Guardians any less enjoyable. In fact it’s to be commended for being a bit different to its other Marvel siblings. Plus any film that mentions the awesomeness of Footloose and Kevin Bacon has my vote.

Rating 4/5 – give the crazy lesser known heroes a try and I guarantee you’ll be hooked, and if nothing else it’s the best movie featuring a talking raccoon this year!

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The Lego Movie

When I first heard that there was going to be a movie based on the popular toy Lego, this did not sound appealing to me at all. However the trailers for the movie actually looked quite good, funny even. So did The Lego Movie live up to the trailers or were my first impressions correct?

Emmett (Chris Pratt) is just an ordinary construction worker, living his life following the instructions set out by Lord Business (Will Farrell). That is until he accidentally finds the Piece of Resistance which becomes attached to his back. Suddenly Emmett finds himself in the centre of an adventure he never could imagine, and only he can fulfil the prophecy and stop Lord Business from his evil plan.

This film is a lot more fun than it has any right to be. Directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller seem to have a habit of making good movies out of unpromising material having manage to make 21 Jump Street a surprise critical and commercial success. Here, they’ve put a lot of effort into making a worthy story filled to the brim with jokes that children and adults will like. They obviously care about making this movie good rather than just calling-it-in like other directors may have done.

The voice actors are all great, everyone has been well casted in their roles. Will Arnett is fab as Batman (can he just be the new Batman instead of Ben Affleck?), and Liam Neeson is so much fun as Bad Cop/Good Cop. Special mention should also go to Chris Pratt who plays a good everyman as Emmett, and is also really funny.

The ending may be a bit divisive for some audience. Personally I liked it as it added an extra element to the film, but it also takes you out of the action for a bit which may annoy many people. Kids might also want to get a bit bored and want to get back to the adventure at hand.

Overall a good comedy that makes you nostalgic for the Lego sets you use to play with as a kid. Maybe I should take my Lego haunted castle back from my nephew…

Rating 3.5/5 – who knew a movie about Lego could be so much fun.

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